Hector Moreno’s stoppage time header earned Mexico a draw in their tournament opener against Portugal. Meanwhile, Chile beat Cameroon to kick off their Confederations Cup campaign with three points.
Portugal 2-2 Mexico (Quaresma 34′, Cedric 86′ – Hernandez 42′, Moreno 90’+1)
Hector Moreno’s stoppage time header for Mexico ensured the points were shared with Portugal.
The UEFA and CONCACAF winners went head-to-head at Kazan Arena, and Portugal were the brighter of the two sides in a first half that was open and attacking.
Pepe thought he’d opened the scoring for Portugal on the rebound after Cristiano Ronaldo had crashed a shot against the bar with a sensational dipping volley – but the goal was chalked off for offside after the referee consulted a video replay, a system being trialed at the tournament.
Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa had to be alert to tip over when a cross deflected off defender Carlos Salcedo – but Portugal took the lead moments later through Ricardo Quaresma.
Ronaldo raced through and, although unable to get a shot away himself, picked out Quaresma at the far post, and the Besiktas winger wrong-footed Ochoa and slotted in from close range.
Quaresma could have doubled his tally just before halftime after a Ronaldo backheel gave him an opening, but the ball got stuck under his feet and could only drag his shot just wide, when the opportunity had promised so much more – and Portugal were made to pay.
Carlos Vela and Hernandez again combined after a mistake by Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael Guerriero. Vela simply lifted the ball into the box and Hernandez threw himself at the ball, and this time his header flew past Rui Patricio and into the bottom corner.
The second half became more defensive as both sides wanted to protect what they had, and Ochoa produced a huge save from substitute Andre Silva, whose header was heading for the bottom corner, only to be brilliantly scooped away one-handed by the Malaga stopper.
Mexico’s second half resistance was broken four minutes from time when Hector Herrera let the ball bounce off his foot and Cedric pounced, with the Southampton player’s shot taking a deflection off Herrera on the way in.
That appeared to be the winning goal for Portugal, but Mexico weren’t done. Hector Moreno headed in off the post from a corner to give Mexico an injury time equalizer, ensuring a share of the points.
Cameroon 0-2 Chile
(Vidal 81′, Vargas 91′)
Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas fired Chile to a 2-0 win over Cameroon, but the game was once again dominated by the video assistant system which is being trialed at the Confederations Cup.
After seeing a goal ruled out in the first half after a referral to the video assistants, which caused confusion on the pitch, Vargas’ 91st-minute strike was again handled by video technology, although it was to overturn a wrong call from the assistant match official.
But aside from the glitches in the video tool, the South American side created the lion’s share of the chances even with Alexis Sanchez starting from the bench.
Cameroon goalie Fabrice Ondoa had little time to settle into Sunday’s second Confederations Cup game with South American champions Chile on the front foot from kick off.
Vargas forced a fine save in the first minute before wing-back Jose Pedro Fuenzalida was impressively denied by the 21-year-old stopper.
Cameroon threatened at the other end with Ngadjui’s well-angled header ruled out for offside. But the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners struggled to stem the tide from Chile’s all-out attacking style.
With the half entering the stoppage time, former Hoffenheim striker Vargas thought he had given Chile a deserved lead after he finished off Arturo Vidal’s through ball with a chipped finish over Ondoa.
But the celebrations were cut short when Skomina ruled Vargas to be offside after referral to the video assistants. The Chileans were incensed by the length of time to make the decision and the offside call itself which was marginal and required consideration on the referee’s part.
Alexis was introduced to a rapturous applause from the crowd in the Russian capital as coach Juan Antonio Pizzi looked to add an extra threat to his side’s attack.
Chile’s successor to Marcelo Bielsa and Jorge Sampaoli was justified in his decision to keep Alexis wrapped in cotton wool as the Arsenal star perfectly assisted the opener with nine minutes left. Sanchez crossed for Vidal who timed his run well and headed past Ondoa from close range.
Sanchez was involved in the second in stoppage time, beating the offside trap with the help of the video assistants before Vargas finished off into an empty net.